Senior Writer

BCS boss: USC likely to lose '04 title if it loses NCAA appeal


DALLAS -- USC's 2004 BCS title will likely be vacated if the school loses its NCAA appeal, BCS executive director Bill Hancock said Tuesday.

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Speaking during the Big 12 media days here, Hancock made the most definitive statement yet regarding Reggie Bush's participation in USC's 55-19 victory over Oklahoma in the 2005 Orange Bowl.

It could cost USC a national championship.

"If USC loses the appeal, the [2004] championship will be vacated," Hancock told reporters. "And the feeling is in our group, the commissioners group, is that there was not a game, no game happened."

Hancock added, "They will vacate, they will not elevate anyone," referring to the 12 school presidents who make up the BCS Oversight Committee.

"The presidents could decide to do something else, but I think it's most likely that they will vacate it."

Hancock said those presidents would reach a decision by consensus, not necessarily unanimously, if USC loses the appeal. It would mark the first time since at least the beginning of the wire service era -- beginning in 1936 -- that a national championship had been removed.

The oversight committee is made up of one CEO from each of the 11 I-A conferences and Notre Dame.

On June 10, the NCAA vacated 14 victories from USC's 2004 and 2005 seasons as part of the penalties stemming from the Bush investigation. Bush essentially competed while ineligible for two seasons because he had taken money and benefits from marketers trying to win him as client when he turned pro.

Because the NCAA doesn't stage a championship in Division I-A football, it does not control postseason football. The BCS began in 1998 as a way to streamline college football's national championship race. Human and computer formulas are used to determine the top two teams to play for the national title each year.

During the media days, Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville lobbied for his undefeated 2004 Auburn team to be elevated to national champion in the wake of the USC penalties. Auburn finished 13-0 and No. 2 that year.

"Somebody needs to be national champion from that year," Tuberville told

The Associated Press has announced it will not revote the 2004 final poll. However, the Football Writers Association of America is expected to address the issue next week. USC was presented with the association's Grantland Rice Trophy signifying a national championship that year.

The BCS' leaders have faced the question of whether to remove USC's championship for years. The NCAA took four years to flesh out all the details. Last week, incoming USC AD Pat Haden announced that the school will return its copy of Bush's Heisman Trophy to the Heisman Trust. The trust was to have met Tuesday to discuss its own decision on dealing with Bush's trophy. A Heisman winner has never had his name removed or been asked to return his trophy.

In NCAA language, a "vacation" differs from a forfeiture. Forfeits not only take away wins from offending school but award them to the losing team. Per NCAA rules regarding vacations, USC's wins and Bush's records will be removed from all NCAA record books and USC media guides. Also, Pete Carroll's wins during that period will not count toward his career total.

USC is not appealing to the NCAA to get any of the wins back. It is trying to reduce the two-year postseason ban to one year. Resolution of the case probably won't be announced until next year.

Anyone in need of a credential from all the BCS title games? Dennis Dodd has them. In three decades in the business, he's covered everything from the Olympics to Stanley Cup to conference realignment. Just get him on campus in a press box in the fall. His heart lies with college football.

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